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Politics

Rick Perry and Rick Santorum Look to Florida With 2016 Bids on the Table

May 13, 2014 - 6:00pm

Two Republicans who ran for their partys presidential nomination in 2012 and are considering second bids in 2016 are focusing on Florida this month.

On Thursday, Gov. Rick Perry, R-Texas, headed to New Smyrna for a fundraiser with his ally Gov. Rick Scott, R-Fla. While Scott did not back Perrys presidential bid in 2012, the two governors have engaged in a friendly rivalry to see which state can create the most jobs. Earlier this year, Perry, who is not running for another term in Texas this year, said Scotts re-election is one of his top political priorities in 2014.

Gov. Rick Scott understands that private-sector growth is generated by lowering taxes and improving the workforce, Perry said in a statement on Wednesday sent to the Miami Herald. The people of Florida are enjoying the benefits of Gov. Scotts leadership as their quality of life improves and taxes decrease, allowing them to keep more of their hard-earned money.

But Perry is not the only 2012 Republican presidential candidate staying active in Florida as he contemplates another bid. The Latin Builders Association (LBA) will feature former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., at a breakfast on Thursday, May 22, at Miami Dade Colleges West Campus location.

Santorum featured the LBAs Construction and Business Management Academy Charter High School in "Blue Collar Conservatives," his new book.

While Santorum is backing conservative candidates across the nation through his Patriot Voices PAC, he has not backed any candidates from Florida so far in the 2014 election cycle. However, Santorum continues to remain active in key presidential states, including Iowa, where he edged former Gov. Mitt Romney, R-Mass., in the 2012 caucus.

Santorum announced on Wednesday that he was backing conservative talk-show radio host Sam Clovis for the Republican nomination to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa.

"I am proud to endorse my friend Sam Clovis for the United States Senate, Santorum said on Wednesday. I had the pleasure of getting to know Sam during my run for president and was blessed by his support along the campaign trail. I know what is in his heart and Sam is a true, full-spectrum conservative who believes in the greatness of American exceptionalism and the founding principles in our Declaration of Independence and Constitution."

Santorum said national political groups were backing less conservative candidates in the primary.

"I have watched this race develop and was not going to get involved, but I feel compelled to more publicly voice my support for Sam because so-called conservative groups in Washington, D.C., have tried to anoint a candidate, Santorum said. Unfortunately, these same groups either don't know the real record, or they are trying to mislead Iowa conservatives about who is the best conservative in this race. Simply put, a voting record that supports tax increases and not showing up for the job the people entrusted you to do are not conservative principles.

"I am fond of Iowa and have gotten to know many Iowans through the years, Santorum added. The one thing that all Iowans appreciate and expect from their politicians is the truth. And the truth is that Sam Clovis is a man of principle who will advance the cause of conservatism and be an outstanding U.S. senator."

Clovis backed Santorum during the 2012 presidential contest. Santorum has left the door open to a second presidential bid in 2016.

Other potential Republican candidates have also placed their bets in Iowa. Perry is backing former U.S. Attorney Matt Whitaker in the Republican primary while U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., is supporting Iowa state Sen. Joni Ernst.

Reach Kevin Derby at kderby@sunshinestatenews.com.

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